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Earth View at Night
  • Why do you test for asbestos in water-damaged homes for water restoration contractors?
    Asbestos is more common in homes than people typically believe. Most people believe that asbestos was banned years ago, which it was but for only a very short period of time. Asbestos is still commonly found in recently built homes and commercial buildings as asbestos-containing products included drywall joint compound (aka mud) and caulking. These products were many times manufactured in Mexico and Canada and only within the past few years banned their production. The US is one of only a few countries that has not place a ban completely on the import and manufacturing of asbestos-containing building materials.
  • Why can you take “Composite” samples of drywall systems?
    As stated on January 5, 1994, Asbestos Sampling Bulletin clarification, joint compound and wallboard form a “wall system,” and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) therefore recommends the use of a composite analysis for this material. See 59 FR 542; see also 60 FR 65243 (1995). For joint compound (not skim coat), EPA recommends that an accredited analyst take a weighted average of the different wall system components to arrive at the final reportable number. OSHA DOES NOT recognize composited analysis.
  • Can I remove asbestos in my own business?
    No, business owners cannot remove suspected asbestos within multi-unit residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Only homeowners in a single-family home who also are occupants can fulfill the residential exemption set forth for residential properties by the EPA.
  • Why do you collect and analyze more than 1 sample of each suspected asbestos-containing building material?
    The EPA requires a minimum number of samples per building material type. The amount of samples that need to be collected depends on which of the three types of building material is being sampled (Surfacing – minimum of 2, thermal system insulation – minimum of 3, and miscellaneous – minimum of 2). At a minimum EPA requires 2 representative samples of a homogeneous (same material installed at the same time, same color, same texture, etc.)
  • I’m remodeling my home. Do I need to be concerned about asbestos in the building materials?
    You can't tell whether a material in your home contains asbestos simply by looking at it. If you suspect a material within your home might contain asbestos (for example floor tile, ceiling tile, or old pipe insulation/wrap) and the material is damaged (fraying or falling apart) or if you are planning on performing a renovation that would disturb the material, the EPA recommends that you have it sampled by a properly trained and Ohio licensed asbestos consultant like ERAtech’s professionals. ERAtech uses only NESHAP approved laboratories to perform the asbestos analysis.
  • Can I remove asbestos in my own home?
    We don't recommend removing asbestos in your home as a do-it-yourself project. However, EPA allows a homeowner that occupies their building to legally remove suspected asbestos-containing materials within their home. Most homeowners of less than 4 – unit residential buildings are exempt from EPA regulations on asbestos. Contractors that conduct building repairs must determine if asbestos is present before conducting their work. If you remove asbestos-containing material, it should be properly disposed of at a licensed and asbestos-approved landfill for disposal. Asbestos-containing materials should be tightly enclosed in double-bagged heavy-duty commercial bags.
  • My attic has Vermiculite insulation in it. Am I at risk? Should I take it out?
    If you have vermiculite insulation in your home, you should assume this material may be contaminated with asbestos and be aware of steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from asbestos exposure. The EPA recommends that vermiculite insulation be left undisturbed. Airborne asbestos fibers present a health risk through inhalation, so the first step is to not disturb the material, which could release fibers into the air. If you disturb the insulation, you may inhale some asbestos fibers. The degree of health risk depends on how much and how often this occurs. If you choose to remove the vermiculite insulation, this work should be done by a trained and accredited asbestos abatement contractor that is separate and independent from the company that assessed the vermiculite insulation to avoid any conflict of interest. If you have vermiculite insulation, any tasks requiring workers to disturb the vermiculite (electrical or cable installation, light fixture installations, etc.) should not be permitted.
  • Can I collect my own asbestos sample and drop it off at your office for analysis?
    Yes, you could drop off a sample(s) of building material for asbestos analysis by placing your name, street address, phone number, and email address on a piece of paper inside a zip lock® baggie that also contains zip lock ® bags of suspected asbestos-containing building materials with the location identified on the outside of the zip lock ® bag. The sample does not need to be larger than a half dollar in size We will email you the results within two to three business days after you have dropped off your sample(s). Call ahead with questions and to make drop off arrangements.
  • Why doesn’t ERAtech do mold remediation or asbestos abatement in addition to its sampling & analysis services?
    We believe doing both the consulting/testing and remediation/abatement is wrong and bad for our clients. It is a “Conflict of Interest” when a consultant/contractor is in a position to derive personal benefit from their actions or decisions. Too many times we see a business offering both services and getting enriched at the expense of the property owner.
  • Do you offer Asbestos Class II Flooring Removal training?
    Yes, ERAtech does offer Asbestos Class II flooring removal training classes regularly. The eight-hour class can be held at our location or if there are enough participants (over a minimum of 6) we can conduct this training at your facility. The course allows restoration, remodeling, and flooring contractors to remove asbestos flooring and associated mastic (adhesive) in their residential and business client’s buildings.
  • Wasn’t asbestos banned years ago?
    On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a final rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products in the United States. In 1991, the rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, most of the original ban on manufacturing, importing, processing or distribution in commerce for most of the asbestos-containing product categories originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned. Only the bans on corrugated paper, roll board, commercial paper, specialty paper, and flooring felt, and any new uses of asbestos remained banned under the 1989 rule. Although most asbestos-containing products can still legally be manufactured, imported, processed, and distributed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the production and use of asbestos has declined significantly.
  • How can I tell if my water is contaminated with bacteria?
    Contaminated water symptoms manifest in different ways depending on the problem at hand, but the most common are: Odd tastes, such as bitter, salty or metallic. Unpleasant odors, such as a rotten-egg or swampy smell. Cloudy or off-colored appearance.
  • What is Legionellosis/Legionella's/Pontiac Fever?
    Legionellosis is caused by a bacteria that grows and thrives in stagnated water. The bacteria can become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made building water systems like water-based fire suppression systems, showerheads, and sink faucets. After Legionella grows and multiplies in a building water system, water containing Legionella can spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. Individuals who have an underlying illness or weakened immune system are most susceptible to Legionella infections. The elderly, those with chronic lung disease, smokers, and those with suppressed or compromised immune systems are most at risk for contracting the disease. However, relatively healthy individuals can be at risk of contracting the disease as well. There are two forms of Legionellosis; Pontiac fever and the more severe Legionnaires’ Disease. - Pontiac Fever: Pontiac fever is a less severe form of Legionellosis which is characterized by flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, headache, and muscle pain) lasting 2-5 days. - Legionnaires’ Disease: Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal illness involving pneumonia.
  • How long does water have to sit for Legionnaires?
    People are often shocked to discover just how quickly legionella can develop in a stagnant water system. Given the right conditions, legionella can grow and become problematic in as little as two weeks.
  • What are common sources for Legionella?
    Common Sources of Infection include: · Water-based fire sprinkler systems · Cooling towers · Hot tubs · Decorative fountains and water features · Hot water tanks and heaters · Large, complex plumbing systems
  • What are the most common bacteria found in water?
    Bacteria including e-coli, coliforms and legionella are single celled microorganisms commonly found in well water, lake water and cistern water.
  • Can I collect and drop off a sample of suspected mold at your office?
    Yes, if you can take a piece of clear (not transparent or frosted) tape, gently place the sticky side down on the suspected mold surface, then gently lift the tape sample and place the sticky side of the tape against the inside wall of a zip lock baggie without pressing firmly. ERAtech can analyze that sample for the presence of mold. Please be careful not to overload the tape with a thick layer of mold as that would make it almost impossible to determine the amount and type of mold that are present on the sample under a microscope. We have trained staff that can analyze the sample in-house and provide you with the results within a business day or two of us receiving your sample(s). You can also request a DIY surface sample test kit which can also be dropped off or mailed to our office. Please use the Contact Us form below or call our office at 937-859-8998 for pricing and availability. We will e-mail the lab results and the invoice for the analysis. Please include your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and information about where the sample was collected (such as the room it was collected in, specific location (i.e. Bedroom Wall, Bathroom Ceiling, etc.) and a brief history of any moisture damage or high humidity that may have occurred.
  • Can't I just get a Do-It-Yourself Mold Testing Kit?
    The do-it-yourself mold testing kits found commonly in stores like Home Depot and Lowe's provide inaccurate results very easily. The do-it-yourself kits mostly rely upon a cultured plate or dish that is simply opened and left sitting on a table in the HOPES that airborne mold spores will land in the dish, which can provide results inaccurately because some molds grow faster than others, which can falsely indicate a problem where none may exist. Additionally, the auger used in the dishes may be more effective at growing some types of molds more than others. At ERAtech, we collect air samples using carefully controlled and very specific spore trap media, and we follow the manufactures guidelines during the sampling process. We also collect an air sample outside, which acts as the background "baseline", that the indoor samples are compared to to determine if the indoor levels are elevated or normal.
  • Why doesn’t ERAtech do mold remediation or asbestos abatement in addition to its sampling & analysis services?
    We believe doing both the consulting/testing and remediation/abatement is unethical and bad for our clients. It is certainly a “Conflict of Interest” when a consultant/contractor is in a position to derive personal benefit from their actions or decisions. In several states, it is illegal for a testing company to also offer mold remediation services. Unfortunately, Ohio is not one of these states. Too many times we see a business offering both services, using a common tactic of a "free" or "reduced" testing fees and offers of a discount to sign up quickly.
  • What happens if Recognized Environmental Conditions are recorded during the Phase I ESA process?
    In the event that a Phase I ESA identifies recognized environmental conditions, a Phase II ESA to confirm or deny the presence of subsurface contamination may be in order.ERAtech has relationships with several local drilling companies and environmental laboratories that can be utilized as part of our Phase II subsurface investigations.
  • What is involved in a Phase I ESA?
    A Phase I ESA is primarily a review of records from many sources, indicating the likelihood of the presence of hazardous chemicals, as well as petroleum and other sources of environmental contamination on a property. The records review may be from many sources, including but not limited to historical maps, tax records, and property deeds of previous businesses and owners. Ultimately the results of a Phase I ESA inform the opinion of the Environmental Professional serving in a consulting capacity, as well as the property owner. This opinion indicates whether further investigation is warranted, which allows the potential buyer to move on to the next steps, in order to determine the full extent of what type of work might be needed on the property under consideration.
  • What is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?
    The purpose of a Phase I ESA is to provide you with an evaluation of the subject property in an effort to identify potential environmental contamination liability as it pertains to the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Phase 1 ESAs are performed according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E1527-21). The goal of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is to determine if there is a reasonable basis to suspect the presence of recognized environmental conditions (RECs). According to the ASTM Standard, the term recognized environmental conditions means (1) the presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on or at the subject property due to a release to the environment; (2) the likely presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on or at the subject property due to a release or likely release to the environment; or (3) the presence of hazardous substances or petroleum products in, on or at the subject property under conditions that pose a material threat of a future release to the environment. The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products even under conditions in compliance with laws. The term is not intended to include de minimis conditions, defined as a condition related to a release that generally does not present a threat to human health or the environment and that generally would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate governmental agencies. Conditions determined to be de minimis are not recognized environmental conditions. In addition to the definition of a “REC”, ASTM E1527-21 includes definitions for “controlled” and “historical” RECs.Acontrolled REC (CREC) is a REC a recognized environmental condition affecting the subject property that has been addressed to the satisfaction of the applicable regulatory authority or authorities with hazardous substances or petroleum products allowed to remain in place subject to implementation of controls (for example, activity and use limitations or other property use limitations).An historical REC (HREC) is defined as a previous release of hazardous substances or petroleum products affecting the subject property that has been addressed to the satisfaction of the applicable regulatory authority or authorities and meeting unrestricted use criteria established by the applicable regulatory authority or authorities, without subjecting the property to any controls (for example activity and use limitations, or other property use limitations).
  • What happens if you find something while performing a Phase II ESA?
    Depending upon the situation, the discovery of contaminants on a piece of property may require remediation of the contaminants or may halt a real estate transaction or further commercial or agricultural use of the property. The nature and extent of contamination will dictate what next steps may follow a Phase II ESA.
  • How Long Does a Phase I ESA take and what does it cost?
    Every Phase I ESA project is different, and therefore there is no set fee for the preparation of a Phase I ESA report. While a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment typically takes anywhere from 10 to 15 working days to complete, additional time may be necessary to assess large and/or complex sites while undeveloped land and/or small or straightforward sites can be assessed quicker. These factors, as well as the location of the project, also have an impact on the cost of a Phase I ESA project. Our goal is to ensure that our customers pay a fair price in order to provide them with the knowledge they need to make the choices that work best for them.
  • What is involved in a Phase II ESA?
    A common procedure is for a buyer to conduct a limited Phase II ESA, which would involve determining the presence and extent of contamination on the site, to make the following decisions: 1. The contaminant is minor or inconsequential. 2. The contaminant is confirmed and may pose more of a risk than the buyer is willing to accept. 3. The contaminant is confirmed and more study is needed to quantify the extent of pollutants discovered in order to make an appropriate decision. A comprehensive Phase II ESA includes extensive sampling to fully characterize the extent of contamination and analysis of potential off-site contamination so that necessary cleanup activities and costs can be estimated.
  • When is a Phase II ESA required?
    Previous uses of a property that can create the need for a Phase II ESA and subsurface investigation include: gas stations, dry cleaners, industrial activities, oilfield, agricultural activities, refineries, machine shops, manufacturing, hazardous waste storage, etc. Analysis into the specific site details during the Phase I ESA will determine, if any of these previous uses have created a significant potential for a release or if a known release has occurred. If so, a Phase II ESA performed by an individual with expertise in soil and groundwater contamination may be required. Phase II ESAs should be conducted by engineers or geologists with experience in this field. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed a standard guide for Phase II ESA, ASTM E1527-21Standard Guide for Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process which is used by professionals to inform Phase II ESA work
  • Why is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment required?
    Although not required by any law or statute, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment may be required for a variety of reasons. The most common of these reasons being during the purchase of commercial real estate. In other words, what this allows is for the buyer of the property and the potential lender to understand their potential liability before making a huge decision. In short, having an ESA done means protecting all parties involved from entering a deal that would not be in anyone’s best interest. In many cases, by showing due diligence, a purchaser or lender may qualify for CERCLA Innocent Landowners Defense designed to allow the owner of the property to defend against environmental liability created by a third party. When all parties need to understand the level of risk they might incur, the purchase of property goes much more smoothly. To put it simply, a Phase I is not always going to be required, per se, but it will always be in the best interest of a potential buyer to have every bit of information that he or she can about a piece of property before making a purchase. After all, don’t you believe that you deserve to know how the land you are considering purchasing has been used in the past? We believe that this is an absolute necessity. Often times, lending institution require you to get a Phase I ESA on your property prior to property transfer, loan approval or the closing of industrial and commercial real-estate transactions to determine if recognized environmental conditions exist on the property. In addition, a prospective purchaser or landowner may decide to get a Phase I ESA during a real estate transaction to understand the environmental condition of the Site and as basis for justifying due diligence satisfies the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act’s (CERCLA) requirements for Landowner Liability Protections.
  • What is a Phase II ESA?
    A Phase II Environmental Site Assessment is conducted primarily for real estate transactions, to identify existing presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, ground water, or surface water of the property.
  • Can my child be exposed to mercury in his/her school with a polyurethane floor?
    Phenyl mercuric acetate (PMA) historically has been used as a catalyst in polyurethane flooring systems. In the 1950s-1970s, PMA was used as a catalyst in the 3M Tartan ® brand polyurethane flexible floors that were installed commonly in school gymnasiums. Mercury vapor is released into the air above the surface of these floors. Since most students are shorter than adults, their breathing zone is closer to the floor where higher mercury vapor levels would typically be found. Students involved in physical education would likely be engaged in an activity that would increase respiration. Some activities may put children in direct contact with the floor. Coupled with their lower body weight and higher intake rate, the result would be a greater dose of mercury vapor per unit of body weight. ERAtech has conducted testing and ongoing monitoring of mercury-containing flooring for schools and county buildings.
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